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Williams keys attack with 28-point effort

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The Memphis Grizzlies are starting to show
some improvement under new coach Hubie Brown.

The Grizzlies displayed a new confidence, a smoother offense and
flashes of tough defense Wednesday night, defeating the Seattle
SuperSonics 117-99 for their second straight win.

Jason Williams scored a season-high 28 points and had six
assists to key the victory, while rookie Drew Gooden had 23 points
on 10-for-14 shooting from the field

"I think we're very comfortable,'' Gooden said. "We know where
to find guys at their best spots, and the chemistry is starting to
blend.''

The Grizzlies, who lost 13 straight to open the season, shot
59.3 percent from the field and had six players in double figures.

The SuperSonics, who lost 119-116 in overtime Tuesday night in
Atlanta, have dropped five of their last six.

"We make no excuses,'' Seattle coach Nate McMillan said. "They
were fresh. We've played four games in five nights, and the
Grizzlies jumped on us quick like they should have. Despite that,
we won't use fatigue as an excuse. The Grizzlies just played
better.''

The Grizzlies opened with 11 unanswered points and never
trailed. Memphis' shooting performance overshadowed the
SuperSonics' 48 percent shooting.

"Gooden came out and hit five shots straight, and then Jason
Williams made like five straight shots,'' Seattle guard Gary Payton
said. "Then everybody came out making shots, and we just didn't.''

Pau Gasol and Wesley Person finished with 14 points each, while
Shane Battier and Gordan Giricek added 12.

Rashard Lewis led Seattle with 24 points, while Desmond Mason
scored 22 off the bench. Payton scored 17 and had 13 assists, but
was 8-for-18 from the field.

Memphis led 64-59 at the half as both teams shot well. The
Grizzlies hit their first eight shots. But despite missing their
first six shots, Seattle shot 61 percent in the first half.

Gooden, who scored only four and six points in the last two
games, had 18 in the half on 8-for-9 shooting from the field. Williams added
14 points and four assists.

Gooden said the difference was returning to the power forward
position from the small forward where he's played recently.

"I had to basically learn the (power forward) plays in a matter
of a couple of practices,'' Gooden said. "I adjusted, but now that
I'm back to my natural position, I feel a lot more comfortable.''

Lewis had 19 for the SuperSonics in the half, while Payton had
11 and seven assists.

Memphis opened the second half with eight straight points to
extend the lead to 72-59. The Grizzlies eventually led 94-80 at the
end of three quarters as Memphis shot 61 percent through the first
three periods.

"What we are running, we are doing well,'' said Brown, who
still is implementing changes. "We are getting open shots. We keep
adding different sets, and we are adding new options to the plays
we are calling.''

Game notes
Brown "tweaked'' his starting lineup, putting Battier in
instead of Stromile Swift. The Memphis coach said he wanted to try
a different combination for better defense and rebounding. ... It
was only the seventh start of the season for Battier, last year's
runner-up for Rookie of the Year honors, and the first since Brown
took over as coach Nov. 12. ... The Grizzlies' 64 first-half points
were the most by Memphis in a half this year, and the 117 was the
highest total for a game this season. ... With his next game,
Payton will tie Fred Brown for the most games played by a
SuperSonic. ... Seattle had won the last seven against the
Grizzlies and still holds a 24-4 advantage in the series. ... It
was Seattle's fifth game in seven days, including four straight on
the road.

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